The “oh shit” factor of business

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I believe that most businesses do not come into success through a slow, organic, process. I think that, instead, most businesses start off small and kind of flail around until an incredibly large opportunity gets presented to them that takes them out of their comfort zone. Not even out of their comfort zone, but out of their comfort universe. It’s the put-up-or-shut-up part of business.
In short, its the “oh shit” factor.

In November I had my “oh shit” moment. I had a request for 2,500 products to be sold at less than wholesale and to be delivered within a week. It was my biggest wholesale request….um, ever. The selling at less-than-wholesale price wasn’t what bothered me; obviously with those kind of numbers I can lower my price and negotiate. It was the week deadline that made me take time to think about it. And when I say “a week” what I actually mean is “delivered to our location in one week”, so essentially I would have 4 days to make 2,500 products.

Let me take a minute to say that a large part of Metropolis is also run on my iphones calculator app. I spent most of the morning on the subway crunching numbers, figuring out that if some how I could negotiate more time, would I be able to fill this order.

It came down to “no.” Logistically I know that 2,500 of most products in my catalog would have to be shipped on a pallet and I don’t have the ability to do that where I currently work (read: my apartment). Financially, I would need to do most of the costs myself, unless I was able to negotiate a deposit, otherwise there’s no way…most of my money has been spent on holiday season supplies. Product-ly I don’t have 2,500 of any of my products available. Hell, I don’t even have 100 of any of my products ready to ship so this would include making 2,500 products in a 4 day timespan. Time-ly I have a 2 day show this weekend in NYC so I wouldn’t even be able to fully dedicate my time to doing the order.

So I wrote back excessively thanking them for the opportunity but that I didn’t have the capacity to deliver that kind of product in such a short time span. I offered an alternative of doing this for Valentines Day (since it was for a holiday-specific project), which would give me more than enough time to make/ship/bill the products and only cost me a fraction of the insanity. We’ll see.

I’m a little sad to miss out on this “oh shit” moment as it could really catapult me to achieving more of my goals (Hello, workshop!) but I know that there just wasn’t a way for me to do it at this juncture.

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1 comment

Carla December 7, 2012 - 4:33 pm

While it was a huge opportunity, I feel like asking that of any handmade product on such short notice is not very realistic on their part not to mention very fair! I do hope they come around for Valentines day but give you some notice next time!


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